February 12, 2015
UNITED NATIONS –Today Princess Nisreen El-Hashemite of Iraq presented the Zero Draft Declaration to Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Lakshmi Puri, with the understanding that UN Women will continue to push for the action items stated in the document through appropriate UN channels including next months World Health Assembly hosted by the World Health Organization.
The “Call to Action” includes 28 separate action items, most of which revolve around the incorporation of ideas surrounding the unique physical and mental health needs of women and girls as well as accessibility to education and health services. Specific deliverable outlined for UN member states include the following: include gender factors in all biomedical research; establish International Day of Women in Science every February 11th; allocate at least 15% of annual budgets to improve health sectors; reduce maternal mortality and morbidity to a global ratio of less than 70 per 100,000 live births in all countries (globally 210 per 100,000 as of 2013 according to the World Health Organization), ensure 75% of contraception is of modern method, decrease mortality of non-communicable disease by 33%, and achieve universal health coverage.
During an informal interview with Europa Newswire, Princess Nisreen discussed the inequality of Iraqi woman. She spoke of how the Iraqi constitution gave women full constitutional rights and equality until 2003. While the issue of whether Iraqi women did in fact have “full constitutional rights” during that time can be debated, 2003 refers to when the United States overthrew Saddam Hussein’s monarchy, subsequently appointing the Coalition Provisional Authority which oversaw the creation of a new constitution drafted by the Iraqi run Transitional Administration Law. She also made a point to condemn the parliamentary quota for female representatives required by the constitution. The Princess described it as a tool that is used to manipulate the system rather than promote equality, noting that parliamentary officials put up women for the required female seats who are already in their circles and are there to vote the way that they are told. As the Executive Director of the Royal Academy of Science International Trust, one of the primary organizers of the forum, she believes in the forums ability to help to move women’s rights forward in Iraq and all Arab countries.
Photo by Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire